The Brooklands Society
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Raymond Mays

Born in 1899, Raymond Mays spent his childhood at Bourne in Lincolnshire being educated at Oundle where he met Amherst Villiers, later to become a supercharger expert, moving on via a spell in the Grenadier Guards to Cambridge after the Great War from whence his father intended him to move on to work in the family wool business. His parents had already introduced their car mad child to Laurence Pomeroy at Vauxhalls and to Brooklands and the die was cast early on for Ray to forge a career in motor racing.

He began motor racing with hill climbing forays in a Hillman while still at Cambridge, gaining FTD on his first outing. This car was tuned up and at his first outing at Brooklands in 1921 he won a two lap race outright in it. The Hillman was put in part-exchange against a new Brescia Bugatti which subsequently underwent a heavy programme of tuning under the direction of Villiers which made it very competitive and Ray continued to collect FTD awards in abundance, including taking the Shelsley record to 51.9 seconds in 1923, beating Malcolm Campbell in a Sunbeam into third place at 54.8 seconds. Ettore Bugatti was so impressed that he donated a new 1924 model and the two Bugattis subsequently ran together as ‘Cordon Bleu’ and ‘Cordon Rouge’.

Ultimately Ray Mays’ specialist area became the E.R.A.s in which he made his name on the international circuit driving among other the works car R.4.B. (now evolved into R.4.D.) which he raced from 28th July 1935 to 23rd September 1950 taking many records and wins in the process. Notable successes at Brooklands were a very close second place to Bira in the 1936 International trophy and first in the 1937. He also took several lap records.

Ultimately Ray Mays was instrumental in the formation of B.R.M. and the raising of funding for the company. It proved a stony road with a few major triumphs. Many of those early B.R.M.s still exist, benefiting from modern advances in metallurgy and very significant investment by wealthy enthusiasts.

 

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| Performance Parameters | General Data |

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